Monday, March 12, 2007

Student Checks

A scheme to vet foreign students coming to the UK to study "proliferation risk" science topics is being opposed by some in academia.

The review of the student vetting system comes after concerns were raised in 2002 about Iraqi researchers who applied to study at Oxford University.

They were later suspected of wanting to make bacteriological weapons resistant to standard antibiotics, arrested and returned to Iraq.

The Commons foreign affairs select committee then voiced concerns about the effectiveness of the student vetting system in such sensitive areas.

We're currently facing a diffuse and global terrorist enemy opposed to our very way of life so it might seem reasonable to want to prevent possible enemies from learning how to develop dangerous weapons in our own universities.

Former academic and chairman of the science and technology select committee, Dr Ian Gibson, has repeated his concerns that such a compulsory system would be impractical. He told Chemistry World it was "over-the-top" and "absolutely unnecessary".

Of course- it would be foolish to want to prevent terrorists or rogue nations from developing weapons of mass destruction that might be used against our nation or our armed forces in our own universities. I take it common sense isn't a requirement for obtaining a doctorate.

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